Invisible Scars: Would You Have Believed Me?

“Get the f-ck over it. I’m done with you being so crazy.” 

That is one of many texts (888 PDF pages worth of them, to be exact) between me and my “best friend,” the first person I ever loved.  I wish I could say that was the first and last time he spoke to me that way, but it wasn’t.

It’s easy to tell yourself that you would never allow yourself to be abused, but it’s harder to follow through when you don’t know what to look for. When I thought of abusive relationships, I pictured the scenes I watched in movies like “Enough,” where the spouse was clearly awful and the abuse was physical — that was all I really knew until I experienced otherwise. I used to tell myself, “I’ll never let myself get into an abusive relationship. And if I do, I won’t stay. I’d never let someone hit me.”

According to statistics from the National Domestic Violence Hotline, nearly one in four women and one in seven men in the United States have been a victim of physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime. Of the victims who suffer injuries, only one in five will get medical attention and only half of them will report the violence to the police. 

The reasons for not reporting vary for each individual. They may be ashamed, or scared that their abuser will retaliate. Maybe they have children. But oftentimes, it isn’t reported simply because the victims don’t think they’ll be believed, and that nothing will be done. These are victims who have bruises and scars, physical evidence of their abuse that the world can see. But what about the scars we can’t see? 

A 2015 survey taken by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence says that 48.4 percent of women and 48.8 percent of men have experienced some form of psychological abuse. Like victims of physical abuse, psychological abuse can continue to affect someone long after the abusive relationship has ended. Emotional abuse isn’t obvious enough for the world to see, and it often can’t be understood unless you are the one enduring the abuse, making it even harder to be believed. 

I was 22 when we met. He was 33. I was young, naive, inexperienced, and absolutely thrilled to finally get attention from a guy. After struggling with my weight since day one of puberty and having little to no confidence, I was convinced that no boy would ever like me. But then he came up to me at work one day and proved me wrong. Here was a guy, an older guy, telling me how much he liked me, how beautiful I was, and asking me out. He had a reputation. I’d been warned the first day of work that I was his type, but still, I fell, and I kept falling for more than three years.

He made it clear that I was not the only girl in his life, but he made sure that he was the only man in mine. When I wasn’t being love-bombed, I was being gaslighted so badly that I was convinced I was lucky to have him because “nobody else would want to deal with me.” Or I was being given the silent treatment for so long that all I could think about was making him talk to me again. If I made plans with a male friend, he’d get so jealous I’d feel guilty for days. But when I tried to explain to people why I was an anxious mess and constantly apologizing, they didn’t believe me. He was good at what he did. To everyone else I looked like the crazy one — I mean, he didn’t hit me, I didn’t have proof, why would they believe me? 

It’s hard to speak up for yourself when your self-worth and self-respect have been slowly stripped away from you, or when you try to tell mutual friends the way he makes you feel about yourself and they respond with, “You knew what he was like when you met, you asked for it.” It’s even harder to have your feelings validated when the response you usually receive is, “Does he hit you?” Well, no, he didn’t, I’d never even been afraid that he would. This was what I’d remind myself of when I’d cry myself to sleep at night. He doesn’t hit me, it isn’t that bad.

When I hear stories of brave women (and men) who are able to speak up about their abuse but are met with skepticism, I’m taken back to the moments when I tried to tell coworkers what was happening and why I frequently broke down at work, but they brushed it away. I watched strong women speak out against Larry Nassar (the former U.S.A. Gymnastics national team doctor accused of sexually assaulting over 250 girls) and tell the stories of the first time they tried to report him but nobody investigated. I remembered the first time I admitted to myself that what I was going through was abuse, I took a test that scored almost 100 percent that yes, I was being emotionally abused, and when I reached out to a friend mid-anxiety attack she told me to get over it. It wasn’t like he hit me. 

On March 12, 2019, thanks to my family, real friends, and therapists, I’ll be one year of No Contact. On September 30, 2018, I met someone, and when I gathered the courage, I told him. I braced myself for the reaction of- “But did he hit you?” Instead, I heard him say, “You know that’s abuse, right?” He believed me. 

32 Things I Learned By 32

Tomorrow, I turn 32… and I can’t wait! I cannot believe I was ever afraid of getting into my 30s – they are 100% better than your 20s! At 31, I feel more confident, more sure of myself, and care less about things that don’t matter. I have seen, grown, and learned a lot, and I thought I’d share some of the things I learned with you all.

  1. Sunscreen is a holy grail item and should be worn daily.
    My mom has had me wearing sunscreen every day since I was in middle school, and I definitely credit it with being a big part of why I still get carded! Also, I don’t want skin cancer – a win-win.
  2. Some friends are here for a reason, some for a season, and some for a lifetime.
    Learning to let go of friends that have served their purpose isn’t always easy, but it is necessary. Some friends are here to teach you a lesson. Some are here to get you through a specific time. And some are here for life. It’s important to know which friends belong to which category and adjust accordingly. If someone isn’t fitting into your life anymore, let them go. It’s best for both of you.
  3. Everyone has their own timeline.
    Just because your friends are getting married doesn’t mean you have to. Just because half your high school class has babies doesn’t mean you need to have one, too. Go at your own pace.
  4. Happiness is a choice.
    You can (and should) choose to be happy despite your circumstances. That’s it. That’s the lesson.
  5. Invest in yourself first.
    Learning something new and taking time to take care of yourself – body, mind, and soul – is the most important thing you can do. Before you spend money on material items, spend it on bettering yourself, not just for your present but for the long run.
  6. Save your money.
    Do you want to retire someday? Me too. So, create a budget. Follow some financial gurus. Start a savings and/or investment account. At least 10% of every paycheck should go to a savings account!
  7. Gratitude is life-changing.
    Did you know that there are studies that show that gratitude literally rewires your brain and can help you heal from certain illnesses? Taking two minutes a day to think about or – better yet – write down a few things you’re grateful for is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your mindset.
  8. Family first.
    Friends will come and go, but family is forever!
  9. Try therapy if you need it.
    There is absolutely no shame in going to therapy. If it’s something that would help you, do it! There are so many resources to help you find the best therapist for you, and there are more low-cost therapy options available than ever!
  10. Safe does not equal boring.
    I spent a long time in a situation that was toxic and volatile, so when I got out of it and started to recalibrate, I often found myself thinking that anyone who was actually nice and had a healthy approach to relationships wasn’t for me. It took time, therapy, and my amazing husband to help me learn that there are ways to keep life interesting and exciting in a much more fun and healthy way rather than getting the silent treatment or fighting every other day.
  11. Don’t hold grudges, and don’t dwell on the past.
    I saw a quote once that said holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Holding onto hurt, anger, etc., is only hurting yourself. You HAVE to learn to let things go.
  12. It’s never too late…
    … to learn something new, start a new career, or go somewhere exciting.
  13. Take care of yourself and take magnesium.
    Make sure you take care of yourself first. Also, magnesium is an amazing supplement.
  14. How to be comfortable being alone.
    If you aren’t comfortable being alone, you should be. Start by taking yourself out to lunch, then to a movie, then move on from there. You need to be able to be in your own head without spiraling, and you need to love yourself first.
  15. Boundaries are essential.
    Whether it’s with friends, family, work, or something else, you have to set boundaries – nobody should have full access to you.
  16. Be flexible.
    Life is what happens when you’re making other plans. Know that things change often and will often change at the worst possible time. Learn to go with the flow.
  17. Be kind.
    Need I say more?
  18. You need hobbies at every age.
    I don’t care if you’re 3, 30, or 63; you need to have hobbies and things to do in your free time! It’s so good for you to have interests outside of your partner, family, or work or just to have a way to unwind after a busy day.
  19. Commitment is not scary.
    This took me a long time to learn as well, but commitment is actually one of the most beautiful things in the world. Something that helped me overcome my fear of commitment (besides my dog and husband) is the mindset that it’s the beginning of a new part of your life, not the end of anything. You’re on a whole new, beautiful path!
  20. Sleep and rest!
    “Rallying” is for 20-year-old college students – and even then, you really should just go to sleep. Hustling and grinding are NOT worth it. You need sleep, and there is very rarely a good reason why you shouldn’t be prioritizing it at least 90% of the time.
  21. Go outside your comfort zone.
    Staying inside your comfort zone your whole life would be so boring! Try something new, do something daring, and have fun with it!
  22. Bloom where you are planted.
    There are going to be times when you’re overqualified, underpaid, or both. Or something along those lines. The important thing to do is know that it can and probably will pay off in the end – so do your best with where you are and stay optimistic that you’ll get to where you want to go.
  23. You have to respect yourself first.
    If you want others to respect you and treat you well, you have to do it for yourself first.
  24. Travel solo at least once.
    This goes along with being comfortable being alone, but I 100% think that one of the best ways to get in tune with yourself is to go somewhere alone, even if it’s just an overnight trip an hour away! Be safe, obviously, but try it.
  25. The grass isn’t always greener.
    I suffer from a “grass is greener” complex where I sometimes think that life will be better or my problems won’t be as bad if I just go somewhere else. That’s not true. But did I learn from those times? Absolutely.
  26. Your inner child still needs you.
    You’re never too old to color, get something just because it has sparkles on it, or eat from the kid’s buffet. You’re allowed to embrace your inner child sometimes!
  27. Don’t take things personally.
    Things really are not that personal, as much as it might seem like they are at times. How people treat you tends to say more about them than it does about you. Just accept what’s happened and move on.
  28. Know what cheers you up.
    We all have bad days, but we must know how to escape them and the feelings that go along with them. So, is it going for a run? Disney movies and cookies? There is something that will cheer you up – find it and put it into practice!
  29. “No” is a complete sentence.
    I used to be guilty of over-explaining. When I worked at Disney or Pure Barre, and someone asked me to cover a shift, it was always, “I can’t because (insert reason here).” I started to learn just to say, “I’m so sorry, I can’t that day,” and (you guessed it) – move on. You don’t owe people a 5-minute long explanation.
  30. Nobody cares about you as much as you think they do.
    People are usually too busy worrying about themselves to notice you!
  31. Cute shoes aren’t always the best shoes.
    Just look at Sarah Jessica Parker. Comfortable shoes can still be cute, and your back will thank you when you’re older!
  32. You are worthy.
    You matter. And you deserve the best. 

I’m sure I’ve learned a lot more, but these were the ones that really stuck out to me. I feel so lucky to have been blessed with the life I have – I’ve learned so many amazing lessons. Sometimes they were hard, sometimes sad, and even painful, but they’ve made me who I am today, and I am grateful for each of these lessons and experiences that have led me to my current place in life.

Now, I’m excited to turn 32 and to continue growing and learning as I go through life. 

What lessons have you learned? Share them below!

What I DIYed for Our Wedding

Weddings are expensive, we all know that. 

While I loved going shopping and searching for decorations, flowers, and accessories, there were some things that I also knew I could make myself. So I did! 

The Projects

One of the first things I DIYed was some ring bearer boxes. I did not like how the pillows looked – they were all the same and not the vibe I was going for! I saw some boxes on Etsy, but, again, they were not what I wanted or were so expensive for something that would be used for barely two minutes. So, I made some! 

I got some cute little jewelry boxes with a clear glass top, then painted each in our colors. I painted some white flower foam inside and covered it with white fabric. For the last step, we used a little hook to keep the ring on top of the foam! 

Another thing I DIYed was our table signs. This was for things like where to put cards, pick up favors, and sign our guest book. I got some 5×7” frosted acrylic signs with stands from Amazon, invested in a Cricut (thank you to my mom), and learned how to use it! It was a lot harder than I thought (especially since I picked some very thin fonts), but it was fun! It’s also very cool to say that I made them, and I’m proud of how they turned out. 

I made almost everything for my bridesmaids, minus the toiletry cases I ordered from Etsy. For their proposals, I made a video with their names and photos of us asking them to be my bridesmaids. Then, I sent these cute little holographic toiletry bags from Etsy. They were filled with goodies from Ulta, along with a card I made in Canva, giving them all the wedding details. They loved them! I also made them custom gift bags (thanks again to my Cricut) and little hanging cards (that were a big secret). I hung these with their dresses on the night before/morning of.  These had their name, title, year/where I met them, and four words that describe them. I also made some for my mom, mother-in-law, and flower girls.

I also made slippers for them because the seller I bought from on Etsy forgot to put their initials on them as I ordered! So, I bought the supplies and finished them myself. 

One Cricut project I was excited about was for our cocktail hour. I created the decals for our welcome selfie mirror, which was placed outside during cocktail hour. It said, “Hello. You look incredible, now go grab a drink.” Nothing too crazy, but I’d seen it on TikTok and thought it was cute. So I wanted to try it myself! I got a mirror during Prime Day and then did the decals in black and sparkly silver (I needed to have some sparkle!. Then, I placed them on the mirror with help from my mom and best friend.


While I admittedly got some template ideas online, I did ultimately DIY most of our wedding program design. Finding fonts that matched our wedding welcome sign was hard, but I managed! Our wedding sign I made on Canva and then had printed on a retractable banner through Zazzle. It was hard finding something I liked that wasn’t going to be huge or take up too much space. There were a few different ways people could come into the ceremony. Plus, we were driving everything to the venue and only had so much room In the car. I didn’t want anything too crazy or big (or expensive). I thought the retractable banner was a fun idea.

But, anyway, back to the wedding programs! I also wanted to honor our bridal party, so I made sure to leave space on the back for that. I’m proud of how they turned out! I think they match our “feel” very well and give all the important information, which is good. I used Prints of Love to print our wedding programs as well as our “thank you” cards. These we had we put in the napkins at dinner instead of a menu card. 

Another template I used and customized was for wedding day newspapers. My amazing grandma made us welcome baskets, and we put them in there. They had some fun activities, like a word search, “Bride or Groom” trivia, and sudoku. They also gave a schedule of the ceremony and reception, insight into ‘our story,’ and just some fun wedding facts. I thought that was a nice touch! Those were printed through Zazzle – they turned out really cute!

It was so much fun to DIY some of the things for the wedding… even if it was a bit time-consuming and stressful at times! Not only did it save money, but it was exciting to get to say, “I did that!” I highly recommend DIYing some of the things for your wedding if you can. Even if you don’t think you’re particularly crafty, I’m sure you can do it!

Did you DIY your wedding? What was your favorite project? Tell me in the comments!

My Travel Bucket List

I have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to visit 29 different countries so far—some on cruises and some from when I studied abroad and could travel nearly every weekend. But, despite my many travels in life thus far, there are still many places I’d like to visit! 

1. Norway (to see the Northern Lights)

I have Norwegian ancestry on both my maternal and paternal side (I mean, Olsen), so of course, I want to go and see where my family is from! I even still have cousins there. It would be a big bonus if I got to see the Northern Lights while I was there.

2. Ireland

My mom’s side is also very Irish; I would love to see that part of Ireland! Apparently, we still have some castles somewhere! I’m not really a beer drinker, but I still think it would be a beautiful and fun place to visit.

3. The Maldives

The pictures alone should explain this! Those over-water bungalows? Yes, please.

4. The Grand Canyon

Believe it or not, we never saw the Grand Canyon while living in Arizona! It was way too long of a drive. But I would love to go back for a visit and see it!

5. Nepal

A few years ago, I strongly considered doing my own “Eat, Pray, Love,” and, based on my research and where I felt ‘called’ to, Nepal would be my “pray” spot. I wanted to stay in the mountains, meditate, and pray. I ended up not booking that trip, but someday, I’d love to visit Nepal and experience all it offers!

6. Safari in the Serengeti

I have always wanted to do some sort of safari! It would be so cool to see all the animals. I want to see a wild elephant in person so badly!

7. Glowworm Caves in New Zealand

To be honest, I don’t know a ton about NZ, but these caves just look so cool! I have heard it’s a beautiful country, and I’m sure I’d find many other places to visit and explore. Plus, I’ll be closer to my best friend!

8. Alaska

I’m the only one in my family who hasn’t been to Alaska, but hopefully soon! My fiance and I want to do an Alaskan cruise in the near future. There’s so much to see!

9. Morocco

In middle school, my mom and I went to Epcot and actually walked around the countries for the first time. Ever since, I’ve been obsessed with Morocco. I’ve heard it’s beautiful, so I hope to go someday!

10. Singapore

Yes, “Crazy Rich Asians” inspired this! It just looks so luxurious, beautiful, and exciting! And I’ve heard the food is incredible.

There are so many places I’d love to go to, both in the USA and outside the country, and I can’t wait to cross them off my list! Are there any places that you’re especially interested in going to?

Let me know!

5 Things You Might Not Know About Me

I love doing fun, all-about-me posts. So, I thought it would be cool to do a little “things you might not know about me” piece! While I am an open book in a lot of ways, I do know that, on here, there are some things you might not know about me. If you’ve read my “Confessions of a Singleholic” series, I’m sure you think you know way more about me than you probably ever needed to – but here are some other non-dating Madeline fun facts for you!

1. I was trained in opera

I have loved to sing my whole life. When I was in 5th or 6th grade, my Chorus teacher, Mrs. Price, pulled me aside one day. She wanted to tell me that she thought I’d really enjoy singing lessons. She recommended me to her former voice teacher, an opera singer. Then, she helped me prepare for my audition (yes, I had to audition even to take lessons), and I was accepted! For the rest of middle school, I had voice lessons every week I I ultimately quit because I told my teacher that in high school, I wanted to do more musical theatre than opera or classical training, which was basically blasphemy to her. But she was absolutely fantastic and taught me so, so much. I still look her up often and am grateful for everything she taught me.

2. I wanted to be a fashion designer or an actress

Growing up, I wanted to be a lot of different things! I wanted to be a flight attendant like my mom, I wanted to be a chef or a baker… pretty much the only consistent thing I wanted to be was a mom! 

It was “The Parent Trap” that made me want to be a fashion designer. I started drawing little sketches everywhere, just like Elizabeth James did. I still have my first design sketchbook! All the outfits and dresses were named after women, and some were even designed and named for friends and family. It’s actually crazy how much my wedding dress looks like the one I designed for myself when I was younger! 

But, go big or go home gal that I am, I also wanted to be an actress. I’d always loved performing and theater and got involved in that pretty young, so I also wanted to be an actress. I dreamt of the day I’d win my first Oscar. Ultimately, I decided that I was not cut out for the Hollywood atmosphere and could not sacrifice that much family time, so I decided to shift gears.

3. I have a condition called brachymetatarsia

Essentially, this means that one of my toes is abnormally shortened – in my case, both of my second to last toes (right next to my pinky toes). They are very short and stubby. This is apparently a congenital defect, but I don’t know anyone in my family who has it. But I have heard that it can also happen due to trauma or be an isolated incident. 

I used to be incredibly self-conscious about it . For instance, I never wore sandals in public, hid my feet at sleepovers, and hated my feet and toes. I looked into having surgery on them, but I’d have been on crutches for over a year (you have one foot done at a time). It’s also apparently a pretty painful recovery. When I talked to the doctor, though, he told me Jennifer Garner has it, and then I felt a lot less bad about it. Instead, I decided to embrace it. I’ve never had anyone say anything mean, or someone think I was less pretty, friendly, etc., because of it. It’s actually one of my fiance’s favorite little things about me. So, little toe it is.

4. I NEVER thought I’d end up living in Florida

My family moved to Florida when I was ten years old. I was born in North Carolina, and we’d just spent two years living in Washington State. After the loss of my grandfather, 9/11, and the fact that FaceTime and Skype weren’t around yet, we moved back to the East Coast. 

While I never hated Florida, I always identified (and still do) more as a North Carolinian and craved city life. I went to middle school in Florida and the first two high school years, but I hated it. I still wanted to go to boarding school, and my parents had recently moved to the Gulf Coast of Florida. Meanwhile, my older brother was off at college. I researched and decided to return to school in Asheville, NC. For college, I went to Boston to prepare myself to live in NYC one day… which never happened. I grew to appreciate the slower pace of Florida when I came home to visit but didn’t think it was for me. I did move back and spent a few years in Orlando between college and grad school, but the appeal of that was complicated. Once that ended, I went back to Boston. 

After my stint in Arizona and having my fiance in my life, I was finally ready to move to Florida. Permanently. I’d spent almost half of my life living away from my family and was ready to be home. I was ready to be by the beach (living landlocked is no joke), have sunshine, and enjoy a slower pace in life. So, 21 years later, here I am. 

5. I can’t eat lunch foods until I’ve had breakfast

I’m not sure why, maybe because breakfast is my favorite meal? But, I cannot eat lunch foods (sandwiches, burgers, salads, etc.) without having something for breakfast first. Even if I sleep late and have plans to meet someone for lunch, I have to have some fruit or yogurt or a little piece of peanut butter toast before heading out. It’s a weird OCD tick for sure, but it’s harmless, so oh well.

So, those are just a few things you might not have known about me… but now you do! Share some fun facts with me below! 

Fun + Frugal Date Night Ideas

We all know that inflation is a thing right now… I mean, have you seen the cost of eggs lately? 

With wedding planning, trying to buy a house in the next year or so, and thinking about having a family, my fiance and I have been focused on saving some money lately. One of the ways we’ve decided to budget is by keeping our fancy steakhouse date nights to a minimum and instead focusing on more frugal, budget-friendly options. Then, we’ll pick one a week to do! I like to make little popsicle sticks and put them in a cup, and then we just draw one and start to make the plans.

Here are our ideas if you also need some fun, frugal date nights!


  1. Walk around your neighborhood and talk about what’s been happening lately! 
  2. Go to a garden, park, or beach to walk around, relax, and enjoy the sunset. If you want to up it a little bit, pack a picnic. 
  3. Have an at-home game night or do a puzzle together. 
  4. Drive around your ‘dream’ neighborhood and check out your future house goals. Or, go to some fancy open houses! There’s no harm in looking, right? 
  5. Look at your city’s website and see if any museums or concert venues near you have any ‘free’ nights, then take advantage of it!  
  6. Go biking, roller skating, or play a sport together.
  7. Volunteer together. Whether it’s an animal shelter, food bank, hospital, or non-profit, giving back together is a great way to bond! 
  8. Take a hike! Find a new trail, or even a new walking path, to explore. 
  9. Enjoy the samples at the farmer’s market. Costco works, too, if you don’t have a local farmer’s market. 
  10. Cook dinner together – even if it’s the same spaghetti and marinara you make every Sunday, do it together! 
  11. Build a fort in your living room and watch some movies! 
  12. Go stargazing. Find a spot with little light pollution, bring blankets, and watch the stars. 
  13. Tackle a home improvement project. Is there something you’ve been putting off that you can probably do yourself? Now is the time! It might not be totally free, but it’s cheaper than hiring a handyman.
We would do this if I could ride a bike.
Photo by cottonbro studio on Pexels.com

Under $25

  1. Go to a library or bookstore and pick out books for each other. 
  2. At-home pizza and movie night – grab the ingredients at the grocery store to make your pizza, pop some popcorn, and fire up Netflix! 
  3. Have a dessert date – have dinner at home, then go somewhere for a delectable dessert. 
  4. Take in a matinee movie. If you have time in the afternoon, watch the movies earlier than usual and enjoy the discounted rates. 
  5. Find a food truck (or, even better, a food truck hub) and pick something new to share. 
  6. Attend a brewery or winery tour (most are free), then treat yourself to a glass! 
  7. Make a charcuterie board together. Check Trader Joe’s for reasonably priced cheese, crackers, and wine, and then create your charcuterie board! Bonus points if you have some smooth jazz on in the background. 
  8. Check Groupon for some fun deals! 
  9. Get some ice cream and take a walk. Ice cream on the beach or in a nice park? Yes, please. 
  10. Check out a local open mic night. 
  11. Test your knowledge at a trivia night! Most are free or only $5, but budget some extra for a drink or an appetizer. 
  12. Play mini golf or go to an arcade. If you choose the arcade, get about $10 worth of coins and save the rest for a snack or dessert.

Planning a budget-friendly date night doesn’t have to be difficult, and many things can be found in your home! It’s important to schedule time with your partner; even if you can’t shell out $150 for a dinner, you can still enjoy some fun, quality time with one another. So, pick one of these ideas, set a date, and have fun!

A Day in the Life: Sample Food + Exercise Plan for Wedding Prep

I’m going to be 100% honest with you: As someone who has struggled with disordered eating and body image in the past and holds themselves to very high standards, it’s been hard for me not to fall victim to the “sweating for the wedding” mentality. 

Nevertheless, I am focusing on keeping my body, mind, and spirit healthy and in good shape for the wedding and my overall health. I am not doing any crazy crash diet, exercising for hours a day, or anything extreme. Instead, I focus on nourishing and nutritious foods, fun and aligned movement, hydrating, and getting plenty of sleep! That being said, I thought I’d share a sample day of food and exercise with y’all in case you need some inspiration! * Disclaimer * What works for me might not work for you, which is okay! I am not a doctor, fitness professional, or anyone who should tell you what you should/should not eat or how to exercise. This is an example only. This example is based on my weekday routine, as Fridays are for my tennis clinic, and I usually don’t work out on the weekends unless I really feel like it. Instead, I’ll go for a nice walk and do some stretching.

Alright, enough chit-chat – let’s get into it.

  • Wake Up around 6 a.m.
  • 40-50 minute workout: I do a 6:30 a.m. reformer Pilates class twice a week or go to the gym and do a strength workout – Tuesdays are for the upper body, Thursdays for the lower body. 
  • Protein shake – I like Premier Protein or Atkins, or I do a serving of Kos protein powder in water. 
  • 1-mile walk with my dog.
  • Coffee and breakfast: I love protein sheet pan pancakes, overnight oats with berries or banana, cottage cheese with fruit & granola, or a frozen waffle topped with peanut butter and banana, or smashed berries with honey and chia seeds. I always aim to combine fiber, protein, and fat in every meal.
  • I’m not usually super hungry until lunch, but if I do need a snack, I’ll have some mixed nuts and a piece of string cheese, crackers and hummus, or something in that range!
  • Around lunchtime, I take a dance break and literally dance around my office/house for 5 minutes to get my body moving.
  • Lunch: Some sort of veggie/grain bowl with protein, sandwich, or leftovers from dinner. Some of my favorite lunches are pita pizza, anything from the “Whole Bowls” cookbook by Allison Day, or a good Greek pasta salad. 
Photo by Hana Brannigan on Pexels.com
  • I take my dog for a mini walk around the cul-de-sac, check the mail, and play with her outside.
  • I have to have something sweet! I did get into the viral “Snickers” date snack trend, but I also keep a bag of tiny candy bars (like mini-Kit Kats, Reese’s, etc.) in the pantry to get my afternoon sweet in. 
  • Afternoons, I snack more. Usually around 3 p.m., I’ll have some fruit with yogurt dip, trail mix, or a handful of pretzels and some dip
  • Dinner: Sheet pan chicken fajitas (so easy!), chicken & mushroom pasta, or grilled salmon with baked potato and a vegetable. I also recently made a delicious creamy pesto sauce, using half arugula instead of all basil and half plain nonfat Greek yogurt instead of all cream. I served it with pasta, chicken, and some sauteed zucchini, and it was * chef’s kiss *.
  • Dessert: Grilled peach with ice cream, berries, and whipped cream, or a cookie! I also love any mini ice cream novelties you can get at the store. 
  • Stretch before bed! 
  • I aim for 8,000 steps daily, but that can be hard with the heat here! I have a walking pad under my desk, but I dislike using it when my fiance isn’t home. I try to squeeze in some steps wherever possible and make my desk a standing desk for at least two 20-minute blocks daily. (To be honest, I’m not great about remembering that part, but I really do try!) 

I strive for this every day, but every day is different! If I have an appointment in the morning, I’ll find a 20-minute block within my workday to do a quick YouTube workout. I prioritize rest and nourishment if I’m sick, tired, or not feeling well; I work toward consistency, not perfection. Certain times of the month I have a lot less energy and stick to my morning walk. I’m happy as long as I eat mostly healthy (80/20 rule in this house) and move my body even a tiny bit every day. 

Your wedding day should be remembered because it was fun, you had your family and friends, and you married the love of your life – not because of how tiny your waist looks or how toned your arms are. If, at any point, your “healthy lifestyle” starts to become about that, it’s time to take a step back and reevaluate your goals and intentions.

You will look beautiful on your wedding day, no matter your size. I promise. 

My Morning + Evening Routines

I love routines. They help me start and end my day and overall help me feel more accomplished and productive. 

I’m sure you’ve also seen the “that girl” routines all over TikTok, and I am here to tell you that mine are not that. I believe in doing what feels good to you – so if something doesn’t feel good to do that day, I don’t do it. I also think that morning and evening routines are subjective – what works for me might not work for you. But just in case you need inspiration, here’s mine.

Morning Routine

  • Wake up: Before getting out of bed, I say a prayer for the day, list three things I’m grateful for, and three things I’m looking forward to that day.
  • Get dressed: I start by getting dressed for whatever workout I do that day!
  • Workout: This could be a Pilates class, gym session, or just a YouTube video.
  • Protein shake time.
  • Skincare: I wash my face, tone, use eye cream, Vitamin C, niacinamide, or Santorini velvet skin by Korres, face lotion, and then ALWAYS end with SPF!
  • Walk Lottie: I am for about 1 mile, more if it’s not too hot.
  • Coffee + breakfast: English muffins, overnight oats, yogurt and fruit, avocado toast, and oatmeal are my go-tos!
  • Morning pages/journal: Sometimes I save this for lunch, depending on how I do on time. But it’s just a nice day to get my feelings out! I also like to have a mantra or affirmation for the day.
  • Shower + get ready for work: Lately I’ve been making more of an effort to actually put on real clothes (even if it’s just a slightly nicer pair of leggings and a solid t-shirt) and do light makeup for work. It really does make me feel better and more prepared for the day!

Evening Routine

  • Prepare things for the next day: This could be cleaning the kitchen, setting up coffee, laying out clothes, etc. 
  • Self-love workbook or other mindset work.
  • Finish device use for the day: I try to stop using my phone about an hour before bedtime, but I’m still working on this!
  • Shower: I listen to meditations or just spa music in the shower. If I haven’t had time to meditate that day, it’s just a nice way to wind down.
  • Brush teeth/skincare: At night, I use a gel cleanser, eye cream, retinoid serum, face lotion, and then either a cleansing or soothing oil.
  • Stretch and take three deep breaths: This helps me prepare my body for sleep time.  
  • Get into bed.
  • Say an evening prayer: This is a nice way to express gratitude and ask for any guidance.
  • Read until I fall asleep.

It doesn’t have to be an elaborate, hour-long thing. I definitely like to take my time with my morning routine as I ease into the day, but my evening routine usually doesn’t take me longer than half an hour (depending on how much I need to get ready for the next day). You don’t have to do a twelve-step skincare routine or spend twenty minutes meditating every morning and evening. Find what feels good and what works for you – your routine needs to be aligned with your needs, not some random person on TikTok.

If you need ideas on where to start, here’s a little chart I made to inspire you!

Tell me what your morning and evening routines are below!

About Me: Personality Tests and My Types

Anyone who knows me knows that I absolutely love personality tests. They are fun and interesting and can tell you so much about yourself, how you work, and how you relate to others. So, I thought it would be fun to review some of the big personality tests, what they tell you, and what my type is! Think of this as a very niche “about me” post. Let’s get into it. 

Myers Briggs

What it is: At its core, the Myers-Briggs test is a popular psychology test that tells you how you absorb information and perceive yourself and the world around you. 

My type: ENFJ – The Protagonist
As an ENFJ, I am Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, and Judging. The website’s description says, “Protagonists (ENFJs) feel called to serve a greater purpose in life. Thoughtful and idealistic, these personality types strive to impact other people and the world around them positively. They rarely shy away from an opportunity to do the right thing, even when doing so is far from easy.” I would say this is very accurate! Being authentic and doing the right thing is extremely important to me. I am passionate yet overly empathetic, reliable, and idealistic, almost to a fault. 

Other ENFJs are Barack Obama, Jennifer Lawrence, and Elizabeth Bennet from “Pride and Prejudice.”


What it is: The Enneagram personality test is similar to Myers Briggs in that it tells how you perceive the world but goes a bit deeper. The underlying theory is that based on experiences in your childhood, you emerge with one “dominant” type (we really have all of the nine types, but one is the most obvious), which also explains how you manage your emotions and why you do so that way.

 My type: Type 8 – The Challenger

As an 8, I am described as “self-confident, strong, and assertive. Protective, resourceful, straight-talking, and decisive, but can also be ego-centric and domineering. Eights feel they must control their environment, especially people, sometimes becoming confrontational and intimidating. Eights typically have problems with their tempers and allowing themselves to be vulnerable.” I definitely don’t think I’m ego-centric, but I fear being controlled and feel like I always have to advocate for the underdog. From each type, you have a wing that can go either to either side of the circle (so 1w9 or 1w2, 2w1 or 2w3, etc.).I am an 8w7, called “The Maverick,” which is described as self-reliant, wanting to forge their own path, energetic, and enthusiastic.

Other 8s are Winston Churchill, Serena Williams, and Tony Soprano. 


What it is: The DISC assessment is often used in professional settings and discusses an individual’s personal sets of values, beliefs, and perspectives. 

My type: Influencer
I enjoy working with others, being creative, and bringing friendliness and compassion to the table. Again, I value feelings of freedom and spontaneity and fear situations where those aren’t possible. 

Love Languages

What it is: I think the Love Language test is very underrated! It tells you how a person prefers to give and receive love. There are five main types – Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Physical Touch, Receiving Gifts, and Quality Time. 

My type: My number one has been and will always be Words of Affirmation. I need to be told I’m loved and appreciated, that I look pretty, all those good things. When showing love, though, I think I lean towards giving gifts and acts of service, which is interesting! 

True Colors

What it is: True Colors is a very typical personality test in that it says every person falls into one of four categories with their personality and temperament. The colors are blue, gold, green, and orange. 

My type: Blue.
As a blue, I’m warm, caring, empathetic, and creative. I like to keep the peace and am driven by compassion. 

Big Five

What it is: The Big Five is based on a five-factor model of the personality – there are five main personality traits, and the strength of each one and the order of them together tell what kind of person you are. 

My type: Openness, Conscientious, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism – Empathic Idealist
If I had to pick two words that describe me to a T, I think “empathic idealist” would summarize me perfectly. I score highest in openness and agreeableness. I use “insight and creativity to help others” and “think about how the world could be a better and more beautiful place.” That sounds about right!

I know some people think personality tests are bogus, but it really doesn’t harm anyone for me to enjoy them! What are your thoughts on them? Tell me your personality types!

My Top 5 Wedding Planning Tips

Wedding planning is tough; we all know that.

On top of working a full-time job, trying to exercise, eat healthy, and plan date nights, spend time with my family, being a good dog mom, cleaning and cooking, and fulfilling other commitments, it feels nearly impossible sometimes to do it all. But with these five tips, you can make the impossible a bit more possible!

1. Ask for help

I admittedly am not always the best at asking for help, but if there’s one area where I have learned I have to, it’s wedding planning. Obviously, your fiance/fiancee should provide some support and input, but you should also have someone else lending a hand – whether it’s a wedding planner, friend, family member, or bridesmaid, it’s okay to ask for help. You won’t be able to do it all! Well, you probably could, but then you’d be exhausted by the time your day came around, and what fun would that be?

2. Find a planner or way to organize

I am a big spreadsheet girl and probably one of ten people who still uses a physical planner. Finding a wedding planning binder, notebook, or group of planning templates is a lifesaver! It can help you keep track of things such as budget, music, checklists, and more. A quick search on Etsy or Amazon can give you many options for virtual and physical options!

3. Stop when it’s not fun

My mom told me this right after I got engaged, and it’s so important. It’s easily the best piece o advice I received. Anytime I start to get worked up or stressed, I step away for a while (or even a day or two) until it’s fun again. This should be a fun and exciting time, not a source of stress! If there’s an area that you cannot stand working on, see if you can outsource it to someone else! Take time for self-care, and enjoy the process. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, it should be fun!

4. Go in order

This seems obvious, but you’d be surprised! The two biggest things are date and venue – if you have your heart set on a specific date, you need to be flexible on the venue. Likewise, if there’s a certain venue you love, you need to be flexible on the date. After that, go in order! Your dress will probably be decided by the venue and time of year. Vendors come after the venue, bridal party attire after the bride’s dress, etc. Don’t make things harder for yourself by jumping around in a way that could potentially put you in trouble later.

5. Don’t compare your wedding

This is a big one with how much access we all have to social media and opportunities to try to keep up with other brides. DON’T COMPARE. You never know someone’s background, connections, or personal stories. Bigger does not always mean better. A more expensive wedding doesn’t mean it was a more fun and memorable wedding. Just because influencers have it doesn’t mean you do, too. Your wedding should be for you, your partner, and your guests. Not social media. Don’t compare – it’s really not worth it. It’s YOUR day!

While there were plenty more tips I could have shared, these were my top five! Drop your biggest wedding tip below!

My House of Colour Experience

Spring, Summer, Fall, or Winter? Depending on what side of TikTok you’re on, you might have seen the trend of finding your ‘season’ going around. What started around the 80s as a department store experience has become a popular topic on social media and beyond. 

I had an idea of which season I was, but I wasn’t sure and was interested in discovering more. I tried to use the TikTok filters and even reached out to a couple of color experts on TikTok, but ultimately, at the suggestion of my close friend, decided to make the trip to House of Colour Tampa. 

House of Colour describes themselves as “image consultants and personal stylists based in the USA; we help you discover your best colors and style to build your confidence and wardrobe.” And luckily, there was a franchise owner just about an hour away from me! So, one day my mom and I drove to Tampa, where we had a color consultation with Barbara, who was just amazing. This was our experience.

The Seasons

To start, let me take a second to go over the “seasons” according to House of Colour.

First of all, there are two main categories – warm tones and cool tones. This is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – warm has more of a yellow undertone, and warm seasons look better in gold. Cool seasons, however, have a blue undertone and look better in silver. From there, each category has two seasons. Each season also has sub-seasons, but I won’t go into that too much! 

The warm seasons are Autumn and Spring. Spring colors can be best described as warm, fresh, clear, and light. Meanwhile, Autumn colors are described as warm, deep, rich, and earthy. The cool seasons are Winter and Summer. Winters have vibrant colors, high contrast, clear, and intense colors. Summers have soft, smoky, cool, and harmonious. Here’s a photo that shows the different shades of blue that would fit into each season. 

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about my experience!

Color Analysis

My mom and I arrived at Barbara’s home, where she has her studio space, and immediately felt so welcomed and excited. My mom insisted that I go first, so I sat down in the chair, and we got to work. The studios always try to have the chair facing a large window so that you can get natural light, which is the best way to do the analysis. We were also asked to wear no makeup so that she could get the best idea of our skin undertones. I should also add that going into this, I was convinced I’d be an Autumn. Quizzes I took, that TikTok filter, and any descriptions I read said that as a brunette with dark brown eyes and fair skin, Autumn was my season. So, I thought that I already knew everything but figured it would be fun.

In any case, I sat down and had a drape put over me so that she could start pulling fabric swatches from her rack. This part was sort of like the eye doctor – is this one better, or is this one? First, she considered whether I was a Warm or Cool season. And y’all, imagine my surprise when after only a few fabrics, she told me I’m a Cool season! Once I knew what to look for, it was so obvious that the Warm tones were not doing it for me – they brought out a yellow undertone I didn’t even know I had. I honestly looked a bit jaundiced. So, Cool it was. 

From there, she then began to compare shades of the same color – red to red, blue to blue, to determine between Winter and Summer. We realized quickly that the Summer colors dulled my features while Winter colors enhanced them – for instance, my teeth looked whiter, my eyes looked bigger, and my jawline and cheekbones were more defined. It was crazy! 

Afterward, she went through all of the colors within the Winter palette to find my “wow” colors and my “authority” colors, which are the colors you look best in. Mine were navy blue, charcoal grey, indigo, and pretty much every shade of purple. Who would’ve thought? From this, she could say that I am a Jewel Winter, meaning the Jewel tones look best on me. Then, it was my mom’s turn!

My mom went through the same process, and was also a Winter. However, she was a Sprinter Winter! This means she gets super clear and bright colors (fuschia, acid yellow, etc.) rather than the cooler colors with lots of contrast. 

Once we had our seasons, Barbara taught us a little 90-second makeup routine with a powder foundation, lipstick color, blush, and mascara. I was very grateful to learn that we’re the season that gets black mascara! She helped us select blush colors and then makeup colors to try – it was so fun! I never thought I’d be a hot pink or red lipstick wearer, but here we are. 

We also got little fan booklets that have all of our colors. They’ve been really helpful with shopping for clothing and makeup. It was so much fun, and we had such a great time. So much so that I was really excited to go back and do my style analysis!

Style Analysis

A couple of months later, I returned to Barbara with my friend Kelsey (who had told me about House of Colour in the first place). This time, we were going to do our style analysis! In this consultation, we’d learn more about how body types, bone structure, and personality put us in a style personality that helps us get dressed. Of course, we are all multi-dimensional people, but we all have a core personality as well. Kind of like astrology (if you’re into that). 

House of Colour took the six main ‘types’ and created 23 different clothing personalities. Some are more Yin, and some are more Yang. If you’re familiar with Kibbe body types, the main types are the same, but HoC focuses more on personality. However, even if your personality is strongly towards one, you must also consider body type. For instance, someone petite and curvy should probably avoid super angular clothing. House of Colour sees the six types as: (these aren’t the exact descriptions, but they are close)

The Six Types

Dramatic: Dramatic, angular, edgy, and striking. Think Victoria Beckham. 

Classic: Sophisticated, elegant, put-together, and timeless. Think Jackie Kennedy or Kate Middleton.

Natural: Textured, layers, relaxed, and bohemian. Think Elle MacPherson and Stevie Nicks. 

Gamine: Quirky, cute, fun, and androgynous. Think Audrey Hepburn and Carey Mulligan. 

Ingenue: Youthful, feminine, elegant, and pretty. Think Jayma Mays and Elle Fanning.

Romantic: Sexy, mature, feminine, and curvy. Think Marilyn Monroe and Kate Winslet.

My Style Consultation

The Process

Unbeknownst to us, we were being typed from the moment we walked into the room. We had been asked to wear what we’d wear to brunch with friends, bring five items we like, five we don’t (or just don’t wear a lot), and an outfit to change into to be measured. I wore a halterish navy blue dress with a circle skirt with cute little yellow flowers. My friend Kelsey wore black pants with a nice blue blouse. 

We then started to go through the House of Colour book. It talked more about the styles, some tips for professional dressing, and the origin of the ‘rules’ of clothes – it was interesting! I really liked too that throughout all of this, Barbara reminded us that just like with our colors, we aren’t completely confined to our type. If we want something that’s not our usual thing, that’s okay!

Then, she had us get changed to be measured. Kelsey went first, and then it was my turn. She measured from the top of my head to my armpit, armpit to where my hip and leg meet, there to my knee, then knee to the floor. It was funny that Kelsey and I are both longest in our fourth quadrant (knee to floor) – I guess that’s not super common! She also measured my bust, waist, and hips. Then, she had me step a bit away so she could take a look at me from head to toe, first facing her and then facing away. This started to give her a better idea of my body type.

Apparently, I’m proportionate between my top and bottom half (just about 2” difference) but definitely not from bust to hips – that’s about 8”! Which explains why shift dresses look awful on me. I am a split type because my top half is a bit less rounded – I have a tiny rib cage, an even tinier waist but slightly defined shoulders, and a very round bottom half. My top is considered an oblong, while my bottom is a full curve (lol). 

She also looked at our faces and necks – I have an oval face and a medium neck. This also helps differentiate between a more Yin or a more Yang type. She then told us how each of us was in proportions and angularity/roundness, which means we also learned that certain sleeve lengths and necklines would work better for us. Also, we found the ‘sweet spot’ where tops and jackets should hit us. For instance, since my hips are my widest point, I should avoid anything that ends right at them because it’ll always draw attention to them, which explains why I love crop tops so much! 

After we were both measured, she presented each type and what kinds of clothes, shoes, jewelry, and handbags they’d wear. It was really helpful to get that visual. After each one, she asked how we felt about that type – did anything resonate, or was it a hard no? It was fun to see how our answers were similar and different! 

Then, we took turns going through the clothes we had brought as our likes and dislikes. Here is where I think Barbara really started to get an idea of our type! 

Finally, we took a personality test. If you know me, you know that I LOVE personality tests, so this was my favorite part. Some of the questions Barbara answered for us based on her measurements and observations. Some were easy, and some were hard. All were fun! It really got me thinking. At the end, we tallied up our points – Kelsey was more Yang, and I was more Yin. Then, it was time for her to run some data and pull up our types!

The Results

Kelsey went first, and she is (drumroll, please) a Natural Classic! So that means quality fabrics, a bit of texture, and layers here and there, but mostly tailored, neat, and elegant outfits. Simple accessories (like pearl studs) and not too much pattern unless she’s making a statement. This is exactly what she thought she’d be!

Then, I was revealed to be a (…….) Romantic Ingenue! Which is also exactly what I thought I’d be. So for me, that means smaller, delicate patterns here and there, more ‘girly’ elements (bows, florals, that kind of thing), flirty and pretty. Really, I just like pretty things. I also love sparkle and luxury. I would say that Ingenue is my daytime look, while Romantic is my nighttime look.

She showed us what our lookbook will look like, how she’ll choose tailored items for each of us, and a document that showed what styles and cuts of jackets, pants, etc., work for our body types. This would also be updated and sent out to us the next day. 


Overall, I had a great experience with my color and style analyses. I realize some people might think these are silly and outdated, and that’s okay! But I found them fun, informative, and empowering. I have always struggled with shopping. It’s hard for me to find things that fit my top, bottom, waist, and hips. I don’t always think I look ‘good’ in what I wear. So, to know that the next time I go shopping, I’ll be equipped with a palette of colors and some styles to look for versus styles to avoid makes me feel 100 times better. My experiences have also made me seriously consider taking courses and doing training to start my own kind of color and style business! 

If you’re in the Tampa area, I highly recommend Barbara – schedule with her here! Tell her I sent you!